BoxStar is a HTPC (Home Theatre PC or Home Cinema PC as we'd prefer to call it in the UK) application. Why should you choose this one instead of one of the well-established alternatives? Without wanting to be too negative about the excellent "competition", here are Boxstar's special features:
Like Freevo BoxStar is written in Python with SDL via pygame providing the display component and optionally an input component. It uses MPlayer for playing videos; options to use Xine as an alternative will follow. This makes it run well on a very wide range of video cards etc and easier to install and maintain than VDR or MythTV.
Although Freevo and MythTV do support DVB, they were primarily designed for analogue capture cards, so setting them up for DVB is fiddly and they don't take full advantage of some features. Although I can't make any real boasts about BoxStar's TV support seeing as I haven't written this component yet, my intention is to make DVB "native" to BoxStar. It already supports input device events, enabling many DVB cards' bundled remote controls to be used without the extra complication of LIRC.
The PVR component will be a separate program running as a daemon. This means you can leave it to record programs in the background without having your display etc tied up with the front-end. TV streaming will also be handled by the daemon to make sure that it can correctly handle playing one channel while recording another.
BoxStar is available under the terms of the GNU GPL. See the file COPYING in the distribution's docs directory for full details.
Visit the SourceForge project page to download release files or use other Sourceforge tools. If you want to get developmental versions ahead of releases, use git. This has replaced the subversion (svn) repository). The actual command you will probably want to use to check out a snapshot for the first time is:
git clone git://boxstar.git.sourceforge.net/gitroot/boxstar/boxstar
Afterwards you can get updates with 'git pull'.
I intend to use the following tags:
All of these are commonly available with the main distributions.
If you want to use a specialist driver with SDL, eg DirectFB, you should read the extra SDL notes, ideally before installing SDL.
There isn't really anything to be done. Just run the git command or unpack a downloaded tarball and run it straight from its own directory.
To use with ROX make these symlinks inside the directory:
ln -sf boxstar.py AppRun ln -sf boxstar.svg .DirIcon ln -sf docs Help
See separate page
To run BoxStar just run boxstar.py which you'll find inside the boxstar directory.
The first time you run BoxStar it will probably go through the process of learning keys for any input devices. Just follow the on-screen prompts.
In normal use, BoxStar uses a system of text menus. Use the up and down arrows to choose items. If there are too many items to fit on one screen the "Previous Page" and/or "Next Page" prompts appear. Trying to move the selection off the top or bottom will change the page for you, or you can move a page at a time regardless of the current selection position by using the left and right arrows.
To activate/open the selected item press the "OK" key (I suggest mapping the Enter key to OK if using a standard keyboard). Some menu entries have extra actions available by pressing the "colour" keys (red/green/yellow/blue, common on remote controls; I use F1-F4 for these on a keyboard). If so, coloured boxes appear at the bottom of the screen to show those actions. For example, a CD/DVD item allows you to unmount or eject it as well as open it, and choose the track to play in case it's a DVD or VCD.
If you use boxstar's optional interface to VDR you can exit from this mode by using the control you've configured to act as the "Power" button.
See separate page